The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) kicked-off its 19th season of competition at one of the sport's most famous venues, Daytona International Speedway (DIS) for Friday night's NextEra Energy Resources 250.
Making his 323rd career start in the series, Ron Hornaday came out of the gate strong and proved he has what it takes to be a five-time champion in 2013.
With a mix of strategy in the pits and patience on the track, Hornaday, scored third on the final restart with five laps to go, was poised to be a contender for his 52nd career NCWTS win at the end of the 250-mile event.
With the top-12 trucks single file, Hornaday had a plan to work with his Chevrolet Racing partner, Ty Dillon in the final laps. However, as Johnny Sauter took the white flag for the final lap, an accident involving four trucks on the front stretch froze the field.
Hornaday would go on to take the checkered flag from the third position under caution, his best finish since Iowa Speedway (July, 2012).
Johnny Sauter captured his seventh career NCWTS victory, followed by Kyle Busch, Ron Hornaday, Justin Lofton and Jeb Burton.
Hornaday's Sunoco Rookie of the year contender teammate, Brennan Newberry, started from the pole in his career first start at DIS but was involved in a lap-55 accident in turn-three which relegated the No. 14 Chevrolet Silverado to a 33rd-place finish.
Ron Hornaday: "I'm really proud of what NTS Motorsports, Bob Newberry, and Joe Denette put together. I had a pretty strong truck tonight. Last year I couldn't get up to the guys bumpers and this year I could.
I was able to push and draft well and who knows what would have happened on that final lap if it played out. We were talking to Dillon's team about working with him and it would have been interesting.
When you are going for a championship, you have to get out of Daytona with a good finish and points day. I'm happy with where we ended up and with the organization as a whole.
For Brennan (Newberry) to come out here, his first race at Daytona, and sit on the pole, it says a lot about the direction this team is going in. Everyone is working really hard and I'm looking forward to 2013."